IHG Acquires Kimpton Hotels, Kimpton Guests Weep

IHG is acquiring Kimpton hotels for $430 million.

Kimpton has been shopping itself. And they’ve fetched an impressive sum considering their size and earnings. The IHG Kimpton deal is a smaller one than what some had expected — there’s been rumors of an IHG Starwood deal, and a Wyndham IHG combination.

I wasn’t a big fan of Kimpton’s loyalty program changes announced over the summer. Nonetheless, the chain offered a personalized experience and one where they tended to go above and beyond program rules.

In general I find that the smaller hotel programs are the most rewarding. I’ve often said that it doesn’t take much effort to be loyal to Marriott or Hilton. When you turn up in a city you sort of fall into one of their hotels. It takes effort to be loyal to a Hyatt, so Hyatt’s program needs to give you a reason to do so.

Similarly, Kimpton’s program engendered real loyalty among its frequent guests. Top tier members get a free night at each new hotel the chain opens. They even get formal access to the chain’s CEO.

Nothing will happen right away. The transaction will have to close. The chains will initially be run separately. But presumably Kimpton will get folded into the IHG portfolio, and Kimpton’s members will become IHG Rewards Club members.

“I want to be an IHG Rewards Club Platinum” said no Kimpton elite member, ever. For hotel guests this isn’t really a win, although my IHG Rewards Club points did just get a little more valuable.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. as a (soon-to-be former) Inner Circle member, this doesn’t surprise me a whole lot, but I’m interested to see how the elite perks line up after integration.

    What do you think about the odds of the Kimpton program remaining either separate or being folded into the IC Ambassador program? I can only imagine the uproar if the welcome amenity is killed.

  2. We’re so disappointed to hear the news about IHG/Kimpton in our house. Without exception, all the IHG Hotels we’ve had to stay in for out of town work have been horrendous. The Crown Plaza my husband was stuck in last week was mouldy, stunk of cigarettes in every room, stained on every soft surface imaginable and literally crumbling off in his hands. The six or seven Kimptons we’ve stayed in have all been fantastic, and the amenities, uniqueness of the properties, superb staff, great member special rates and In Touch/Karma program are absolutely the reason we’re loyal to Kimpton. We’re have no faith at all that IHG can uphold, let alone improve, the Kimpton experience.

  3. ” I find that the smaller hotel programs are the most rewarding.”

    Which ones, aside from Hyatt, if you don’t mind?

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